On Feb 12, winter storm Pax dumped a lot of snow on the East Coast of the US. we got 3 inches on Wednesday afternoon between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM. I made the animation below from the footage recorded by our home security camera:
Click on the image for a larger version (warning: 21MB)
That night, on top of the snow, we also got about a 1/4 inch (6mm) in ice rain, which made for pretty harsh conditions for the animals out in the pasture. The next morning, I got up early and went out to check on the animals and I could not find one of the emus! The horses were OK – they had their blankets on. The other emu was not happy about the snow, and especially not the thick icy crust on top, which made it hard for the bird to walk around. Looking at the tracks in the snow, I was able to tell that the other emu, Sidney, had scooted under the fence in a spot where there was a bit of a dip. So Sidney was on the lam, again.
I followed her tracks a little bit into the neighborhood, then I got out the truck and drove around in the snowed-in neighborhood to see if I could find the emu. I found more tracks, but no bird. Some of the people walking around in the fresh snow were quite puzzled by Sidney’s tracks huge three-clawed tracks. Thursday, Friday and Saturday I kept looking for that bird. Finally, Sunday night Animal Services called and told me that Sidney was trapped in a back yard a mile from our place. So we headed out right away and caught Sidney and stuffed her, again, in the trunk of the Mercedes and drove her home.
Meanwhile, poor Alice (the other emu) had no dry spot to sleep on in the pasture on Thursday and Friday. I tried to get her to stay in the shelter, but she did not like that. So we enclosed the shelter, caught Alice and penned her in the shelter for two nights. This was not an easy operation and she lost a few feathers and kicked me pretty good. Saturday, enough snow had melted in the pasture that she could find a dry spot for sleeping on and we let her out again.
So for me, the snowstorm of 2014 was also the “great emu chase of 2014.” However, this was a good opportunity to test how my truck does in snow, and I was very pleased! The truck runs on Kumho Road Venture A/T tires and it plowed through 4-5 inches (12cm) of icy snow without any problems (AWD, of course). I even towed the neighbor’s Civic up the hill through the snow. No problem. So it is really reassuring to know that we can get out of neighborhood even in pretty gnarly conditions.
As far as the emus getting out – I did install a new line at the bottom of the fence all around the pasture to prevent emus getting out under the fence and dogs getting in, as well. Lets hope we’re done chasing emus around North Durham.